When Google Street View Is Not Available, What Do People Do?

Since the dawn of civilization, maps have always been used for navigation purposes. Today, majority of the world can be navigated through Google Maps. From the standpoint of tourism, Google Maps contributes to innumerable sharing companies and review sites like Airbnb, Yelp and Uber to support their economic activities.

To complement Google Maps, Google Street View is the source of supplementary data for both the hospitality and tourism industries for the promotion of geographical locations of their products and services. For example, an Airnb user can explore the neighborhood using Google Street View to find potential listings. Before the Rio Summer Olympics, Rio: Beyond the Map micro-site was developed using Street View technology to show life inside the city’s favelas.

However, there are cities without Street View. It depends on Google whether it wants the company to bring the photo-capture technology to some regions. Some communities do not want to wait for Google that they have opted for another photo mapping tool similar to Street View that allows them to control and update the map on a regular basis.

The option is Mapillary which is an open source app that allows anyone to upload geo-tagged, creator-identified photos of their city streets to a searchable global map like Flickr. A machine learning software will stitch the images together to create seamless and digitally navigable urban or countryside panorama. Since the company launching last 2013, community mappers have uploaded more or less 92 million photographs that represent 1.3 million miles of photo mapping.

Outside Malmo, Sweden, there is no Google Street View. The people are proud of their town and they are frustrated why they can’t show the streets where they live. Since the people want their town and neighborhoods to appear in digital maps, they chose the Sheep View project of Mapillary.

Maps are certainly important for tourism. Most map illustrations have become the focus of conversations in boardrooms, lobby and media because of the creative and skillful combination of geography, information and architecture. When a city, campus or community is illustrated in a map, all the buildings, landmark and important cultural references are visually expressed in color, style and position.